Lawmakers from tobacco-producing provinces called for a congressional inquiry into the reported huge anti-smoking lobby fund from foreign groups, the Manila Standard reports.
Lawmakers said the lobby funds could displace thousands of tobacco growers with no known alternative sources of livelihood if used to pressure Congress into passing "inequitable and unduly burdensome" laws.
Members of the "Northern Alliance" joined the call of Deputy Speaker Eric Singson for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines to disclose the source of its lobby and advertising funds used for "misleading and deceptive" campaigns against the tobacco industry.
"These anti-tobacco groups are using funding from foreign sources to interfere with the affairs of the Philippine government and sound the death knell on a marginal farming community dependent on tobacco since the Spanish era," said politician Roquito Ablan.
He charges that the lobby fund had been used to send government officials abroad, bring the media to their provincial sorties and buy full-page advertising to rally support behind unreasonable and unrealistic proposals. (pi)